New perspectives on aegyptiaca in Portugal: on Egyptianising scarabs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)


This work aims to present an update on the iconographic analysis of the 18 so far known Egyptian and Egyptianising scarabs from the Portuguese Late Bronze and Early Iron context. Such scarabs are part of the Egyptian objects of religious content that both Phoenicians and Greeks consumed and spread across the Mediterranean basin during their colonial waves. To some extent, these Egyptian religious objects also started to be produced by Phoenicians and Greeks in many factories in their colonies. All that Egyptian and Egyptianising material of religious content is called aegyptiaca. During the seventh and sixth centuries bc, Phoenician colonists expanded their settlements towards the Algarve and the estuaries of navigable rivers along the Atlantic shoreline. Most of those new settlers were Phoenicians of second and third generation who had departed from the area of Cadiz and Malaga. They established themselves in new sites, but also in indigenous communities. The transformations undergone in those native societies can be most easily noticed through archaeological data. Phoenician objects acquired a distinctive status and became widely consumed, but also mimicked by Phoenician, Greek and other local artisans. Scarabs are funerary amulets, but also had a protective and magic valour. They could also have been used for social distinction as seals or emblems by their owners. The main question asked when aegyptiaca is found so far in the west concerns the identity of its owner: Phoenician or Native? So, this paper has two main objectives. Firstly, to update the scarce information so far published on these scarabs, by presenting an iconographic study on the representation of demons. Secondly, to posit new questions concerning the role played by aegyptiaca in the Atlantic limits of the Phoenician presence, on religion and cultural identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient Egypt 2017
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives of Research
EditorsMaria Helena Trindade Lopes, Joanna Popielska-Grzybowska, Jadwiga Iwaszczuk, Ronaldo Guilherme Gurgel Pereira
Place of PublicationWarsaw
PublisherHarrassowitz Verlag
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-3-447-11458-5, 978-83-952189-5-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventVIIIth European Conference of Egyptologists: CECE8 - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 26 Jun 20171 Jul 2017
Conference number: 8

Publication series

NameTravaux de L’institut des Cultures Méditerranéennes et Orientales de L’académie Polonaise des Sciences
PublisherHarrassowitz Verlag


ConferenceVIIIth European Conference of Egyptologists


  • Phoenician colonisation
  • Portugal
  • Aegyptiaca
  • Iconography
  • Scarab amulets


Dive into the research topics of 'New perspectives on aegyptiaca in Portugal: on Egyptianising scarabs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this